Getting to know the American police was an experience we had on our last road trip to the United States.
America is a shocking and huge place, and the best way to visit it is definitely by car, to fully enjoy all the facets and places outside the big cities usually taken as tourist destinations on every trip.
Everyone has dreamed at least once in their life of travelling on the roads of Route 66 or Route One. Beautiful experiences but you have to be careful, the United States can be welcoming, but it has its own rules about travelling on the road.
Rules on American roads
Firstly, when you are on American roads, especially on the motorway, there is no overtaking lane. Each lane is an overtaking lane, so be careful when you move from one lane to another, as you will also be on motorways with six lanes in each direction, so be careful.
Depending on the state the rental machines are equipped with telepass, in Florida there is the famous Sunpass, so before entering the motorway always ask if the telepass is included or not.
Speed limit in the USA
The limit is 70 mhp about 110 km, and yes it’s not a good idea to be clever because the famous scene of the policeman hidden behind the billboard is not an invention of Hollywood cinema but a reality.
Think that even in the Nevada desert they have drones that act as speed cameras, detected speeding, the first patrol in the area will stop you and fine you.
Obviously being stopped by the American police is not the same as being stopped in Italy.
In the United States, as I was telling you, patrols are always lurking, sometimes behind billboards, sometimes they are well visible on the street and sometimes they are plain clothes cars, the latter are easily recognizable because they are usually black Camaro or Dodge style cars with rollbar. Every police car has a speed camera installed on the dashboard which means that they could detect your speeding even if they were in the opposite lane, as I did.
Whenever you are stopped it will be easy to guess because behind you will light up a bright Christmas tree with intermittent sirens to the envy of Rockfeller Center.
What to do if you are stopped by the American Police
I happened to be stopped by the American police and everything went smoothly. When approaching you you have to follow some important and simple rules to avoid unpleasant misunderstandings and accidents. We must also understand the policemen, often patrolling alone in a country where guns are within everyone’s reach and therefore there is a lot of mistrust for reasons of personal safety.
In addition, a rental car is a more frequent target for the American police as it cannot be traced back to the owner through the number plate number and is suspicious in itself.
That said, if you are stopped: 1. Stay in the car 2. Keep your hands on the steering wheel and wait for the officer’s instructions. 3. Do not open windows or get out of the car except at the request of the agent 4. Never make sudden movements or gestures, always keep your hands in sight. 5. If you also need to take something out of the bag, always state your moves before making them.
All this may seem very absurd and excessive but you have to understand that the United States is the home of weapons, the policemen go on patrol on their own and are very cautious because they never know who may or may not be armed, moreover the policemen are also very helpful and understand that being tourists we may not have noticed that we have broken the law.